Japanese-American Designer Sara Sakanaka Revamps Vintage Kimonos Into Modern Clothing

Each of us has a unique way of imparting the memories, stories, and mementos we want to pass on to our future generations. As for 39-year-old Japanese-American designer Sara Sakanaka, the way is by incorporating ancient tales into modern clothing.

In her studio in Brooklyn, Sara preserves a little drawstring bag that her grandmother sewed for her decades ago. One of Sakanaka’s oldest mementos, this heirloom represents a long-standing ideology and was made from leftover fabric.

You will also find in her studio, folded stacks of rescued textiles waiting for her to stitch them into something new, exactly like her grandmother used to do as a hobby.

After her grandmother passed away, Sara began studying the kimonos she had inherited from her. She realized that giving these garments a second chance through reconstruction was a means of healing and re-establishing her identity and cultural roots.

Her initial creation was a classic, collared, button-down shirt. She embroidered a tiered patchwork flower fashioned from leftover silk scraps inside each garment she produced.

“There’s this whole idea that objects have lives,” she says in a Vogue interview. “I like to see every piece as a truly considered object in that way,” thus, naming her label as Considered Objects.

Considered Objects offers tapered silk slacks, oversized coats, two-toned vests, draped dresses, and hand-sewn accessories. Each item is made of recyclable materials, and within each garment is a silk scrap flower and a tag. Each shirt comes with a drawstring bag, a keepsake designed to be handed on like the one she inherited from her grandma.